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The Object Of Our Attention
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-110-2
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 336 Pages
Published: June 2013

From inside the flap

An evil ĎEntityí has taken refuge in the core of our planet, A complex plan has been devised to entice it out of its lair. It has to emerge in the end, as the Earthís core is not hot enough to allow it to recover its strength; it needs to be inside a star. Because of the presence of the Entity, the creatures that live on the Earth are liable to be corrupted and manipulated to bring about the escape. Beings from other parts of the galaxy have been watching Earth for untold ages, occasionally taking a message of hope down to the Babil, as they are known. The latest Messenger is called ĎDoveí. On earth she is a pop singer. In the monitoring station orbiting Jupiter she was known as Glindra. Her son Anbethan does not know that his mother is a Messenger.

A nuclear scientist called Smaan helps the Entity to build an escape pod, and it gets ready to leave. Dove is forced to take action. What happens then, changes the Earth forever.

The Object Of Our Attention (Excerpt)


The room waited. Empty. It had potential. Invisibly equipped to become an office or a bedroom, a classroom or a cell, it was ready to be whatever Monitor needed. There were no shadows in the room; there was nothing to cast a shadow. The walls melted into the floor and dissolved into the ceiling; there seemed to be no corners. There were no windows and no doors, but the air was fresh and it flowed like a light breeze. The silence was complete. The room waited.

Abruptly, with a sound like silk tearing, the wall gaped, and two figures rushed through. The room reacted; the light brightened. It gleamed on Thorsic, shining on his colorful, swirling robes; reflecting the anger in his eyes.

"Stay here, boy," he shouted. "Iíll deal with you later."

"But, Dad, I need to..."

"Not now, Anbethan. I donít have time. Sometimes you make me so angry! How dare you even think about making Contact with the Babil! Have you any idea how dangerous that can be?"

He stopped, out of breath. He was tall and austere and unused to shouting. "Just because Iím on the Academic Council doesnít exempt you from following the rules, Anbethan. Iíve got a position to uphold, and itís not helped by having a son who thinks that he can come barging into the Council Chamber whenever he likes."

Anbethan could see how angry Thorsic was, but he couldnít stop himself.

"But, Dad! I made a Contact. And not just the simple sort either. It was a two-way Contact. Really."

Thorsic froze. "That is completely ridiculous!" he gasped. "Iíve never heard such nonsense. Itís unheard of. Impossible. You mustnít even think about it. Itís forbidden."

He stopped for a moment, speechless. "Youíre not qualified," he spluttered eventually. "No undergraduate in the whole history of the Base has ever done it, and you most certainly will not be the first. You may be my son, but youíre not a graduate yet."

"But, Dad..."

"Listen, Anbethan." Thorsic took another deep breath. "Listen. I really donít have time to argue." His voice grew louder again as his anger rekindled. "You are a mere undergraduate; and undergraduates do not make Contact with the surface of the Object, not even one-way Contact."

He paused for effect.

"As soon as I have a moment to spare I shall be visiting your Tutor to find out why your Project hasnít been better supervised."

He glared, but spoiled the effect by letting a small gleam of pride in his sonís unruly talent appear briefly on his face. Anbethan sensed his reluctant approval, and, unwisely, tried again.

"Come on, Dad. I can show you..."

"Anbethan! We donít have time for this. We are in the middle of the most serious emergency since Monitor Base was founded. I should be in the Council Chamber right now, not down here arguing."

"But Dad. I just want to...."

"No buts. This is important, Anbethan. Another Probe has been launched into orbit round the Object."

"A Probe?"

"Yes. If itís loosed in this direction - which we fear it will be - the more alarmist members of the Academic Council will be demanding that we take action against the Object at last."

"But my Projectís important, Dad. Really important! Canít I at least go back and work on it?"

"Of course not! I canít trust you not to do something irresponsible. Youíll stay right here until I come and let you out."

"But Dad, I canít stay here."

"On the contrary, you can stay here. What you canít do is go anywhere else. I donít want you meddling. Contact is too dangerous. You are out of your depth, and someone will have to rescue you, and that will reflect badly on me."

He turned away, mouthing words to himself under his breath. "I donít know," he muttered, "Heís just like his mother. Just like her."

Anbethanís head jerked up. His ears were sharper than Thorsic had realized. "What was that, Dad? Did you say something about mother?"

Thorsic grimaced. Glindra was rarely mentioned between them. It was too painful. All that he had ever told Anbethan was that his mother had gone away. Anbethan, he knew, had long ago decided that she was dead. Thorsic let him think it; it was close enough to the truth.

"What did you say?" Anbethan persisted.

"Enough, son," Thorsic sighed. "You will know about your mother when the time is right."

"But, Dad, thatís what you always say."

"And itís what Iím saying now. So, stay here. Youíve embarrassed me enough. The room will tend to your needs."

Thorsic glared again, and swore under his breath. He was genuinely angry now, though mostly with himself. Then, with a sigh, he turned and stepped over the threshold. With a hiss the wall was whole again. The opening had simply disappeared. Anbethan took two paces towards where it had been, and stopped. There was no door to beat against. He turned away, leaned his back against the featureless, empty wall and slumped down, dejected.

Suddenly a narrow aperture appeared where the door had been. Thorsicís head poked through.

"Listen to me, son, donít ever come into the Council Chamber again when the Research Fellows are there. Itís highly improper for an undergraduate to do such a thing. Thorsic paused waiting for acknowledgement, "Are you listening to me?"

"Iím listening," Anbethan said, his voice a rebellious whisper.

"Stand up when I talk to you."

Anbethan struggled to his feet.

"And itís even more improper for you to make Contact with the Babil. Even one-way Contact should only be made under strict supervision. Two-way Contact is the responsibility of the Academic Council. You know that, Anbethan. If any undergraduate here on Monitor should know the rules, itís you. Really, boy I was expecting more."

With that the wall re-sealed itself with a mocking hiss, and once again Anbethan was alone.